My youngest son is a highly visual and hands-on learner who has an IEP. He excels when he’s actually doing something, not just being lectured to. Social Studies has always been his favorite subject and unfortunately when he was in fifth grade the method for instruction for social studies did not set him up for success and I could see him losing interest in the subject. To combat this I created materials to complement his school instruction while helping him retain his interest and learn the material in a way that better meets his needs. The Interactive Notebook format is perfect for my son’s learning style and works very well with the American History curriculum. Even better to engage his interest is to use Google Drive to complete all the work electronically. He much prefers to type and manipulate using the computer rather than traditional paper and pencil methods.
I know my son is not unique in his learning style and I know the need for better quality materials is there, especially after looking over the curriculum materials that were provided to him via a top name educational publishing company. With this in mind, I decided to dedicate a year to creating materials for my son while also offering them in my TpT store. I was very pleased with the results of the work with my son and I am happy to see the demand is there for the products from fellow teachers.
With budgets getting cut for curriculum materials I knew I needed to provide something that included everything a teacher needs and/or includes links to free resources. All of my units contain an informational slideshow that goes along with the activities. I also include links to free online resources that can be utilized while working through the units.
I am also aware of the time restraints put on teachers for social studies instruction to accommodate testing schedules so all the activities can, for the most part, be completed in a single class period so that you can fit in social studies without missing out on the important content. I also include an IntelliNotes™ format to use when you are short on time, but still, need to hit the high points.
This product line contains units to take you from the early days of North America to the beginning of the 20th Century.
There are 53 units total and they are:
All of the units follow a similar format and contain both a printable and Google Drive format and include:
- Contain a cover sheet in both color and black & white.
- Informational slideshow presentation for instruction
- Links to helpful online resources.
- Guide with a link to a Google Drive file and instructions on how to use it.
- IntelliNotes™ format to use when you are short on time.
- A tutorial guide showing how to make all foldable activities.
- Two different vocabulary activity versions (foldable or flash card). The file also contains blank editable pages so that you can add or change the vocabulary to best fit your needs. **This is the only editable portion of the products.
- Interactive notebook activities to cover each topic within the section to help students pinpoint and highlight the main ideas and concepts.
- An End of Unit Assessment.
- Answer keys for all included activities
From the first unit, Early People of North America:
In creating my resources I made a conscious effort to use only historical images and clip art. I know there are a lot of resources out there that utilize cutesy type clip art in their history products with a goal to entice children into thinking it is “fun”. I don’t subscribe to that line of thinking, especially when dealing with topics such as war, slavery, or genocide or in the depiction of indigenous people, enslaved people, or immigrants. I feel very strongly that using cartoonish imagery sends the wrong message to students preventing them from seeing the people and events as real and serious in nature.
You don’t have to make these topics “fun”, but you can very easily make these topics interesting through deep discussions. Children are naturally empathetic and tolerant. It is a perfect time to tap into that empathy and tolerance as they learn of the atrocities of the past. This doesn’t need to be sensationalized or cutesy, these discussions of the events of the past taught in an honest and real depiction will engage the student interest. The deep discussions you have as you learn together will spark an understanding and appreciation for what has come before and hopefully will lead to the goal of learning this uncomfortable history, which is not to repeat it.
I really enjoyed creating these units and am so pleased with the progress and interest I saw in my son. I hope that you can find as much success within your classroom or homeschool as I’ve had!